GE Refrigerator Freezing Food In Fresh Food Section

For GE’s side-by-side electronic refrigerator made after 2002.

If your GE refrigerator is freezing food in the fresh food section this page can help. Unlike older GE refrigerators, the newer side-by-side models made after 2002 are designed for the fresh food and freezer temperatures to be controlled separately. What I mean by that is the older refrigerators would cut the entire cooling system off once the fresh food section reaches the desired temperature. The newer model electronic refrigerator uses electric dampers that block airflow to the fresh food section if the freezer needs to run a little longer to reach desired temperature. The damper will open if the fresh food section needs more cold air. This along with the use of thermistors allows for a more steady temperature in the both the freezer and the fresh food section. But as always, when things go wrong there will be trouble.

First, before you start to troubleshoot make sure the controls are set correctly. The controls should be set midway which on most models that is 5 and 5. On some models you set the temperature at 0 and 37, which is normal. If it is set too low that may be the reason the refrigerator is freezing food in the fresh food section.

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The most common cause for GE refrigerators to be freezing food in the fresh food section is the damper that cuts off airflow to the fresh food section will break. This is more common on higher end (more expensive) GE refrigerators such as the Artica or the GE profile refrigerator so we will discuss them first. The way you can tell if you have one of the models I am talking about is that there will be an air duct in the back of the fresh food section that goes all the way from the bottom to the top and connects to a light. On some models the duct doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom.

Damper For Higher End Model

What commonly happens is that the damper will break off the motor that operates it. This allows cold air to continuously flow into the fresh food section freezing food. To check this, you will have to remove all the shelves in the fresh food section and remove the air duct in the back. At the top of the duct there will be a housing that has the damper and on some models there will be a fresh food fan. Remove it and look inside if the damper is broken replace it. You will have to replace the entire housing assembly.

icon Damper assembly, fresh food inlet cover kit icon icon

The other type of damper GE refrigerators use is on lower end (cheaper) models. This damper doesn’t break nearly as often but if it does, it can cause the refrigerator to freeze food in the fresh food section. The damper on these models will be behind a cover in the top left of the fresh food section. Remove the cover and you should easily see if the damper is broken.

Damper For Cheaper Model

icon icon Damper Assembly - Click Here To Order icon


A bad fresh food thermistor can cause the damper to stay open all the time or stay open longer than it should. This could be why your refrigerator is freezing food in the fresh food section. The first thing you need to do is locate the thermistiors. On higher end models with the air duct down the center of the back of the fresh food section the thermistor is located behind a cover such as the one you see in the picture below.

Testing A Refrigerator Thermistor On A GE Refrigerator

On the cheaper models, the thermistor is wired in with the damper motor. It will be attached to the two white wires that connect to the damper.

If your refrigerator was made before 2005, this picture will help you identify faulty thermistors (thermistors that came from the factory with a high failure rate). Refrigerators made after 2005 may have thermistors that look like the one that says faulty but is ok. Because they start back using a thermistor that looks like the faulty one but it is not faulty. The picture below shows you how to identify these faulty thermistors. The part number for the correct thermistor is WR55X1002 If you see a faulty thermistor on your refrigerator replace all the thermistors on it.

If you don’t have the faulty thermistors but you are still unsure if the thermistors are good or not this is the best way to check them. Remove the thermistor and place it in a cup with ic e and a small amount of water for at least five minutes. This should bring the thermistor to 32 degrees. Using your ohmmeter, check resistance across the thermistor with it still in the ice water. It should read around 16.6 K ohms or 16,600 ohms. If you don’t own an ohmmeter or are unsure how to properly use it, replace the thermistors if you suspect they are bad.

I hope this page helps you repair your refrigerator that is freezing food in the fresh food section.

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